Tuesday, November 28, 2017

MY ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN THE FLORENTINE MAGAZINE



It has been a real pleasure to write this article for the Florentine magazine. To read the article click on the following link and be directly on the site of the magazine :http://www.theflorentine.net/art-culture/2017/11/contemporary-art-new-conformism/ or you can read a copy of the article below.


Is contemporary art a new conformism?

Thoughts sparked by Urs Fischer’s Big Clay#4 in Florence

Marc Vinciguerra
NOVEMBER 28, 2017 - 11:19 
You will no doubt have noticed Urs Fischer’s contemporary sculpture, Big Clay#4, in piazza della Signoria. Placed not far from the Perseus that Benvenuto Cellini created in the sixteenth century, you might be wondering how—or possibly even—why Mr. Fischer’s contemporary piece is exhibited in such a historical location. 
  
When Cellini, a jeweler, was in his forties he wanted to be a sculptor, yet nobody took him seriously. As he finished his new masterpiece, the Duke of Florence asked the public to decide its destiny. Citizens were requested to write anonymous messages and stick them on the pedestal of the statue, a “Post-it note” vote. When the piece was unveiled the crowd rushed towards the pedestal, eager to have their opinion heard. When the Duke revealed the results it was found that the jeweler-turned-sculptor had won over the crowd: his bronze was judged a masterpiece. 
  
Five centuries later, Perseus continues to dazzle crowds. Surviving the ultimate test of public judgment, Cellini’s piece squarely earned its place in history.  The endless artistic dialogue remains relevant because of the vast number of people who love walking by, pausing to breathe it in as they go about their daily duties. 
Summarizing the buzz among current citizens of Florence, if such a vote was given today, in true Florentine manner, Big Clay #4 would have not stayed more than three hours in piazza della Signoria.
  
There is something profoundly optimistic about the idea that a civilization is capable of judging the quality of the art that it produces. In his book The Artwork of the Future Richard Wagner explains that great art comes from life and not from concepts, and therefore the crowd is the most qualified body of individuals to recognize greatness in art, a body of individuals he calls the “Volk.” Which essentially means that you, me and our peers are the only meaningful art critics of our civilization. Summarizing the buzz among current citizens of Florence, if such a vote was given today, in true Florentine manner, Big Clay #4 would have not stayed more than three hours in piazza della Signoria. 
  
This is the moment where the contemporary artist pipes up: “My work is not meant to be understood. It is avant-garde.” An underlying problem exists with this reasoning. In my opinion, the statue is not a provocation; it’s the biggest and loudest act of conformism. If you take just three of the popular contemporary artists whose enormous sculptures regularly pop up in city centers: Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy and Urs Fischer, you are faced with a representation of the biggest conformists of today. These artists have mastered the “formula” of contemporary art. To be contemporary you have to pretend that the past did not exist. You have to create something that has no meaning, little technique (most are not actually fabricated by the artist), and preferably be disconnected with the history of ideas. You must create something large, for the sheer size mimics power, and it must desecrate something that has meaning, value and hope, like the beloved piazza della Signoria. The goal of the contemporary conformists, if they have one, is to desacralize anything that has meaning, history, beauty and knowledge. The pure size and prominent placement suggests if you don’t like the work, it is because you don’t understand the genius. You might even think that your opinion doesn’t matter, but it is your opinion that matters above all else. Get out your theoretical Post-it notes and bring meaning back to art. 



Photo of Fischer's Big Clay #4 by Mattia Marasco / MUS.E
  
  
In 1917, exactly 100 years ago, this contemporary attitude towards art was revolutionary when Marcel Duchamp sent a urinal to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. What the French-American artist wanted was non-retinal art, which does not address itself to the eyes but instead would have other dimensions. It was a relevant act in 1917 because painting started to have no substance. One hundred years later and contemporary artists are still hanging onto Duchamp’s coat tails.  Repeating the same act for too long deflates the contemporary revolution and makes it redundantly conservative. Sadly, many artists are stuck in this conservative act, now devoid of meaning. Instead of being provoked, we are fatigued with the repetition of the past. French academician and philosopher of art Jean Clair wrote a book called Considerations on the States of the Fine Arts in which he writes about the despiritualization of art in the late twentieth century. He posits that the result of contemporary art is “an art where the human drama is banished, an art where the real is chased away (…) an art that completely lacks of existential drama.’’ In other words, everything that makes art great is not present in contemporary art. 
  
The art world today faces two conformisms: contemporary art and realist art. The former abolishes the past and the latter repeats it. The first is a repetition of Duchamp and the last is a poor imitation of Léon Bonnat, the nineteenth-century French realist painter. Where Duchamp ran away from realism because of its lack of substance, Bonnat fled from substance so that he might represent the real. These two extremes are prominent, yet art is nowhere to be found in today’s civilization. Why? The answer is in the question. We cannot find art because great art is the reconciliation of these two extremes. Form and substance are coeternal. Since Pythagoras and Hegel we have known that we arrive at the height of culture when two extremes fuse as a new unity that defines the real. We are now in this historical moment in art where we have two opposites poised to be combined. This void creates space for a new definition of genius: the marriage of substance with form, the hierogamy between philosophy and art, a new alliance of life and meaning. It is time to drop the wigs of Warhol and Bonnat on the floor. It is time to stop posing like one or the other and have the courage to paint a new definition of reality. 
  
What is art? For 2,500 years, every great philosopher has had a similar definition: great art is what reveals the essence of reality. Some philosophers, like the brothers Schlegel and Arthur Schopenhauer, even put art higher than philosophy, saying that one day art will replace philosophy to educate humanity. Great art is the revealer of who we are. A civilization without art is a lost civilization. The sculptures of some contemporary artists encourage a civilization where we are lost both individually and collectively. To mask the weakness of contemporary art, these artworks are placed in a historic square or within a nouveau museum built with a brutalist temple-like architecture. To compensate, the museology has become more important than the art held inside, hoping to convince you of the extraordinary. 
  
  
Jeff Koons' Pluto and Proserpina was exhibited temporarily in Florence's piazza della Signoria in 2015
  
  
Despite the conformist and predictable manifestation of reality art that has landed in piazza della Signoria, great art is still possible. If Marcel Duchamp were a young man today, he would be Florentine “Marcello del Campo”, easily spotted in piazza Santo Spirito with Dante’s Divine Comedy in his pocket and a large canvas under his arm. Upon inquiring about what his canvas held, del Campo would reply, “I am holding the canvas of the future, a new definition of man heralded with a scientific investigation worthy of Leonardo da Vinci.” His searching gaze would have already alerted me to the fact that his canvas was empty, ready to be filled with life. Marcello del Campo is the real avant-garde of today, someone who knows that substance creates form. He is as much an artist as he is a theologian, philosopher, poet and historian of religion; he is the Nietzschean dream of the Artist-Philosopher as well as the Artist-Messiah of Jean Clair. Through his art we see the structure of the real, not the desecration or the imitation of the real. 
  
Great art is still possible. For great art to rise again we must not repeat or negate the past. On the contrary we must articulate the past with the future to be able to create the present. In the ocean of contemporary conformism, a true avant-garde would create meaning in art that would be a real provocation in this reality civilization. This is not a time to desecrate but to “resecrate”, both in art and life. May the ancient Florentine tradition be resurrected, may the citizens of Florence be the ultimate jurors of what belongs in their piazze, heralding the spirit of Cellini’s masterpiece judged in permanence by Post-it. It is in your hands to spur a new revolution of meaning and end the neo-conformist drudgery. There is nothing more avant-garde than to participate 
in the evolution of humanity.



Marc Vinciguerra

Marc Vinciguerra is a sculptor and a philosopher of religions. He called Florence home for four years and in 2018 will exhibit a monumental sculpture in Venice. His work is an attempt to re-spiritualize art. He is a member of the prestigious Alpine Fellowship that reunites philosophers and artists at the Foundation Cini in Venice to reinvent the future of art. He is currently writing a book of philosophy on atheism

Writing Philosophy in Andalusia














Saturday, November 4, 2017

THE CINI FOUNDATION 2017: MY TWO WINGS







Sir Roger Scruton, Jacob Burda, Alan Lawson, Hubert Burda, Raymond Tallis, John Burnside, Maria Furtwangler, Julian Spalding, Alison Sudol, Andrew Huddleston, Michael Lesslie, Dr. Hubertus von Amelunxen, Gillian Clarke, Marc Vinciguerra





                                           
                                   



LECTURE ON THE THEOLOGY OF THE FUTURE

















Monday, October 23, 2017

PREPARING FOR VENICE SHOW




I am delighted that my favorite Theologian has agreed to write the catalogue of the Triptych for Venice. There will be two catalogues published one luxury edition numbered and signed by the artist and another catalogue published at 12 000 copies.





Tuesday, September 12, 2017

THE BAPTISM OF THE TRIPTYCH IN VENICE




I was in Venice for multiple reasons recently and I met with the curators of my show next year. My Opus Magnum The Triptych of The Religion of Atheism will premiere in Venice. The past years participants of this show were Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, Sir Anthony Gormley, Hermann Nitsch, Joseph Kosuth among other many talented artists. I am honored to have been chosen this year to participate. A five hundred pages catalogue will be published.

















Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ANOTHER BOOK PUBLISHED




So hysterically happy to see my art in a new publication graced with incredible texts by Sir Roger Scruton who wrote a sublime manuscript called The Point of Intersection of the Timeless with Time and other texts by Julian Spalding who is I believe the John Ruskin of our times and many other illuminated minds that I had the immense privilege to share the Fellowship with in the monastery of the Fondation Cini. Jacob Burda and Alan Lawson have created what is the highest cultural circle in Europe today where High Art and High Philosophy meet to create the future of Art. Like the president of the Foundation Cini Pasquale Gagliardi told me eloquently two days ago quoting Gustav Mahler, what we care about is ''the Fire of Tradition''. To follow the thought of Gustav Mahler, we are Adoring the fire and not the ashes. The Alpine Fellowship makes it every year more and more clear to the world that the Golden Age of culture is not lost. We will regain the right for art to be deep and sublime.
















Sunday, July 23, 2017

FOUNDATION CINI 2017



I am honored to have been invited for the fourth time at the Foundation Cini during The Alpine Fellowship 2017. The greatest philosophers of our time will gather again with a small group of artists to envision the future of Art and Philosophy in a closed monastery. It is one of the most beautiful experience of my life to be part of the conversation for the past 4 years. For me to walk on the Palladian pavement in such company is like breathing the oxygen of a transcendental world. Each time I have the privilege to stay in this extraordinary gathering, the words of Schelling are beating in my heart :


'' I AM SPEAKING OF A MORE SACRED ART. AN ART THAT IN THE WORDS OF

ANTIQUITY IS THE TOOL OF THE GODS. THE PROCLAIMER OF DIVINE MYSTERIES.

THE UNVEILER OF THE IDEAS. I AM SPEAKING ABOUT THIS UNBORN BEAUTY WHOSE

UNDESECRATED RADIANCE DWELLS IN AND ONLY IN PURER AND ILLUMINATED

SOULS.''


Schelling The Philosophy of Art ( 1804 )







Saturday, July 15, 2017

VENICE BIENNALE OF ARCHITECTURE 2018



I have been invited next year as a sculptor to show my work during the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018. My beloved Triptych The Religion of Atheism will be installed in a Venetian/Gothic/Byzantine fifteen century Palazzo for 6 months in front of the Grand Canal. For the first time during the Biennale of Architecture a foundation has chosen 30 sculptors in the world to show their work near architects. I am enchanted to see that the bond between sculpture and architecture that disappeared for one hundred years is starting again.












Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Marriage of Atheism and the Sacred (2016-2017)





                                                THE AMERICAN VERSION              





                                                THE VENETIAN VERSION




                       
                                                THE SALZBURG VERSION